Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume Two. 8.1.9 Summary for Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tennessee Staff

09/01/2002

In summary, the results of this questionnaire confirm anticipated differences between FPS and public agency staff in caseload size and allocation of time. There is also evidence of some significant differences between FPS and public agency staff on level of education, job satisfaction, how prepared they feel, amount of experience, and future employment plans. However, despite the fact that the FPS staff appear to have higher qualifications in some areas and are more satisfied with their jobs, no differences in staff qualifications and attitudes translate into differences in practice and thus differentially affect client outcomes.

There are a number of possible explanations for the apparent lack of a direct link between staff qualifications and attitudes and client outcomes. Inadequate measurement of the outcomes is one possibility. However, many of the outcome measures detected change over time, just not differential change fore the FPS and regular service groups. Availability of recommended services is another possible problem. FPS staff may develop more individualized or comprehensive case plans that help clients achieve desired outcomes, however, those case plans may not be implemented if the services are not available at that time. Another disconnect between staff characteristics and outcomes may occur if case plans are not implemented as a result of different philosophies or service approaches taken by the FPS worker and the public agency caseworker who resumes management of the case at the end of the family preservation program. Lastly, the brevity of the family preservation program may cancel out any advantages due to superior preparation, attitudes, or job satisfaction of FPS workers.

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